The Gringo trail.
Trip Start Oct 06, 2004
324Trip End Ongoing
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If Salta was somewhat touristy, then what about San Pedro de Atacama? Compared to it's size, it's probably one of the most touristy places I have been to on the entire trip. The whole town seems to be one large backpacker magnet. There's other tourists here as well of course, but the biggest amount seems to be colorful low budget scruffy looking backpackers with dreadlocks and flip flops (it's a fashion statement I guess, possibly a rebellious one, but still a fashion statement ;-) There's backpackers all over Latin America, but now I am definitively on the Gringo trail (consider it being high season as well)
San Pedro de Atacama is pretty expensive, as it more or less caters only for tourists, located as it is among some awesome scenery. I spend a few great days doing the touristy things and excursions. Like getting up at 4AM in order to reach the spectacular El Tatio geysers around sunrise (you need to as it's the only time you will be able to see the fumaroles). I also visit Laguna Chaxa, within Salar de Atacama, with it's three types of flamingo (James, Andean and Chilean), Lagunas Miscanti and Miñiques, Quebrada de Jere, Pukará de Quitor, as well as watching the gorgeous sunset over Valle de la Luna. And then I got lost in the maze of Devil's Gorge around sunset, mountain biking with four extremely friendly guys from Chile (in one blog entry I think I said that I found Chilean people a bit difficult to get in contact with, but after meeting lots of nice chilenos in Pucon, Santiago, Easter Island and here, I guess I was wrong again). Lets say it was an adventure finding our way back out in the dark.